Last month we introduced Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch’s book Intuitive Eating. This book has been extremely influential in my own nutrition education, which is why I love that I can share it with you all. In case you missed the first post, I encourage you to check back on the Facebook page (Callie Anne Troutman Real Nutrition) or this post!
(I want to make sure I note that these posts are intended only to skim the very surface of Tribole and Resch’s work. In order to truly benefit, I would encourage you to read the book and seek additional counseling as you see fit!)
This month we are exploring the second two principles of the book: make peace with food; and challenge the food police.
PRINCIPLE THREE: MAKE PEACE WITH FOOD
Diets teach us to demonize and restrict certain foods. After years of layering on different diet philosophies, we can develop a long list of foods we think are “off-limits.” Dietary Restraint Theory, which greatly influenced the work of Tribole and Resch, teaches us that thinking we failed our diet is enough to trigger consumption of more food; perceiving we violated one of our food rules can lead to overeating, as can anticipating the start of a new diet; and focusing on NOT eating or thinking about a certain food can actually work in the opposite direction. The vicious dieting cycle ensues: 1) “forbidden foods”; 2) “break restraint”; 3) “forbidden fruit backlash”; 4) “feeling guilty and lack of control”; 5) “false evidence, eating must be constrained”; and back to 1 (p. 67 of the workbook).
(Q1) Which foods have developed power for you after trying to restrict?
PRINCIPLE FOUR: CHALLENGE THE FOOD POLICE
The food police are scouring our psyches to remind us of all the diet messages we have ever absorbed. Being able to identify thoughts from the food police and reframe them in a non-diet approach is a crucial step in intuitive eating, but it takes practice! Tribole and Resch give us the following example in their book. Pretend someone baked you brownies. If you are allowing the food police to guide your thoughts, you may think “I have been so good on my diet the last few weeks” or “if I have a brownie, I’ll blow my diet.” If you eat the brownie, you may think “I have no willpower” or feel disappointment. This may lead you to take more or eat more than you would have wanted to begin with. On the other hand, if you are free of the diet police, you may think “I can eat anything I want, anytime I want.” After you eat a brownie, you may think “I’m satisfied with just this one” and you may feel contentment (p. 110-112).
(Q2) Can you think of examples of when the food police may have tricked you into thinking you couldn’t or shouldn’t do something? What happened as a result? How could you re-frame those thoughts in a positive way?
Keep following along– next month we will touch on chapters 9-10!